Japan has just criminalised the possession of child pornography, though this time around lawmakers declined to destroy the anime and manga industry by banning their works as well, instead settling only for material featuring real people.
The newly passed law attaches a jail term of not more than 1 year and a fine not exceeding 1 million yen to the newly criminalised offence of the “simple possession” of “indecent images” of minors under the age of 18
Citing fears about something called “freedom of expression,” the new law excludes drawn, animated or computer generated imagery from its scope (although in practice police can apparently arrest anyone involved in creating “indecent” 2D adult material whenever they feel like it anyway).
Once the law comes into effect, a year-long grace period of non-enforcement to allow lolicon to dispose of the offending elements of their collections is expected.
Japan’s fairly rigorously enforced and significantly stricter laws against the production and distribution of child pornography remain unchanged.
Aside from the obvious fears about what Japan’s police could get up to with yet another law to selectively enforce to their own ends, most opposition to the law focused on the potential devastation it could wreak on the nation’s anime, manga and game industries.
The obvious desire of the law’s more enthusiastic promoters to get all suspect 2D material banned under the rubric of being “virtual child abuse” or worse and the demand for “research” into the necessity of its censorship which found its way into the actual draft of the law seem to have been struck down as part of the horse-trading necessary to get the bill passed.
Endless moaning about the 2D exemption from the friendly champions of liberty in the land of the free seems likely to continue until the next US government debacle demands fresh distractions – although given how long it took even their LDP pawns to get round to banning simple possession there does not seem to be much danger of further immediate action, least of all with Abe desperate to keep his creative industries onside to participate in the “Cool Japan” program.
The question of where Japan’s various levels of idols – most of whom are at some point involved in various levels of gravure photography even as minors, be they “junior,” “national” or otherwise – stand with respect to the law has also yet to be addressed, though the complete official silence about the matter presumably means the law is far more likely to be used for prosecuting parents whose family albums contain underage nudity than idols whose provocative posing crosses some imaginary line.